A devastating car accident can be incredibly fatal in nature and result in life-long injuries that can deeply impact your child’s life. Car accident cases that involve children can be even more terrible and result in higher damages. For example, if the children are passengers, this can increase fatality risk since children are more vulnerable to injuries. If the driver or other passengers died because of a car accident or personal injury and they have dependents, then the children may be the survivors of a wrongful death victim. Children, in general, are a special case because they are defenseless in this situation.
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Car Accident Cases Involving Children
According to The Pendergrass Law Firm, there are a number of ways that car accident cases that involve children may be treated differently:
How A Child Is Legally Represented
Children cannot file for an accident claim on their own if they are under the age of 18. When they file for a car accident claim, they must do so with a parent or guardian. An adult who has legal authority over the child has to file a claim on their behalf or wait until the child is old enough to file their own claim if they are about to turn 18 years of age.
Damages Children Can Claim
Like adults, children can receive damages such as medical bills, ongoing healthcare, therapy, loss of income, pain, and suffering, and property damage. As long as they are under 18, the children cannot obtain compensation for loss of future income.
Damages Children’s Parents Can Claim
In a separate claim, a child’s parent can also claim loss of services, medical expenses, and the loss of a child’s income if they were working.
Extended Statute Of Limitations
For a child’s personal injury, the statute of limitations differs greatly. Typically, the statute of limitations is two years after the date of the car accident. However, for a child, there are two extensions. The child can file a car accident claim two years after their 18th birthday.
Additionally, they can seek an extension for two years after discovering they’ve been injured. Children take longer to develop, so their bones, tissues, muscles, and brains may not develop until they are older. It can be difficult to tell if they suffered an injury at such a young age.
How Negligence Is Treated
After a child has experienced a car accident, if they were partly at fault for the accident, they can’t be held liable for any damages. Instead, the other party can only hold the parents responsible for any liability.
Children And Their Guardians Require Court Approval
Even if the parent of the child is claiming through a settlement and not filing a lawsuit, the parent must first receive court approval. The judge can reject the settlement or the verdict if the parent doesn’t complete this step first. This is because the court cares for the child’s wellbeing and wants to ensure that the children’s guardians are not taking advantage of the child.
What Do I Do After A Car Accident Where Children Are Involved?
Speak with your car accident attorney to discover how children impact your settlement claim. Every case is unique, which is why your attorney can direct you on exactly how the process works when a child is involved. This can complicate your child’s settlement claim, especially in the case that a child is younger and the injuries haven’t completely shown up yet. They can discuss the type of damages you can expect after a miserable accident and how that impacts your compensation.